The discouraging silence

Have you ever completed a task or project, thinking that you’ve done a mighty fine job, delivered it and then heard… nothing?

What did you think?

If you’re like me you probably thought that the silence meant the outcome wasn’t on the money – it was not acceptable – then discouragement sets in.


We often think there’s a spectrum of encouragement where we can swing from mild encouragement to exuberant out-of-this-world encouragement, depending on the quality of the job that was done. The reality, though, is that encouragement is simply black and white, there is no grey. We are either encouraging someone, or they are being discouraged. Because in the absence of encouragement there is only discouragement.

If I don’t hear that the project I delivered was acceptable, then I will assume it was unacceptable. If I don’t hear that the support I offered was welcomed, then I will assume it was unwelcome. If I don’t hear that the task I completed was correct, then I will assume it was incorrect. All these assumptions bring forth discouragement.

In the absence of encouragement there is only discouragement.

The only way to overcome this is to encourage, to stimulate hope and confidence, to inspire. Now I’m not talking about flattery, I’m talking about actually looking for and finding something that is worthy of encouragement. Find the one thing (if there is only one – there could be many more!) that the person did well and tell them.

People (yep, you and me!) thrive on encouragement, people grow and people will grow others. The fruit borne by a seed of encouragement can only be more encouragement and the amazing thing is that when we encourage others, we too will feel encouraged!

So the next time someone does something, anything, find something worthy of praise and say it!

Let Hope Rise 2011.

Many thanks to Richard Kobakian for the inspiration for this post.

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One thought on “The discouraging silence”

  1. A great article Mark, and a good reminder that we should be conscience of the people around us, that we ought to be looking to build up people at every opportunity. Excellent topic, very encouraging! 😀

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